Shifting the power – climate justice means gender justice: Make Change Happen podcast episode 16

In this episode of Make Change Happen, to reflect on International Women’s Day and the 2022 theme ‘Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow’, we discuss how gender equity and intersectionality approaches are central to climate justice, and that means putting people’s rights, lived experiences and priorities at the centre of every response.

Article, 29 March 2022

IIED’s ‘Make Change Happen’ podcast provides an opportunity to hear our researchers and guests discuss key global development challenges and explain what we are doing to support positive change. 

In this episode, we explore what is meant by the term ‘climate justice’, and unpack how through shifting the dynamics of oppression, and taking an intersectional approach to climate responses, the burdens of climate change are more likely to be shared fairly and equitably.

Hosted by Liz Carlile, this podcast features Heather McGray, director of the Climate Justice Resilience Fund; Vitumbiko Chinoko, project manager at the Open Forum on Agriculture and Technology in Nairobi; and IIED’s Tracy Kajumba, a principal researcher in the Climate Change research group and institutional lead for intersectional disadvantage and inequality.

Gender equality in the context of climate change

The UN theme for International Women’s Day 2022 was ‘Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow’. In the specific context of climate change and creating an environment where all people can become resilient and thrive, what does this mean? The concept of climate justice has largely been considered up to now from an academic perspective. In this episode we hear what it means to put climate justice into practice.

We hear the perspective from the global South: that countries principally responsible for climate change are not paying the same price as those who have made little contribution to the problem. That there is a mismatch between the gender equality ambition expressed by climate funds and the reality of how much money actually goes to support women,  girls and other disadvantaged groups, who are disproportionately experiencing climate change impacts.

IIED has found that less than 3% of adaptation funds for least developed countries is allocated for supporting gender equality in climate change responses.

But we also hear about organisations taking an intersectional approach to helping young girls build their skills and confidence to become less vulnerable to typical societal responses to the climate emergency, such as early arranged marriages.

And how organisations, through listening to the priorities of people, are setting up initiatives that support communities to adapt to  climate change impacts. Women’s savings and loans schemes, for example, provide local capital for investment in adaptation responses, making a critical difference in the lives of women, and their households.

We also hear about the gender dimensions of a gender just transition and what needs to be done to ensure the just transition process is fair and equitable for women and developing country contexts. There cannot be a just and sustainable transition without gender justice.

Find out more by listening to the episode


Head and shoulders photo of Heather McGray

Heather McGray has spent over 20 years in the non-profit sector, working from local to global levels on climate change, community development, environmental governance, and education. She has served as the director of the Climate Justice Resilience Fund since its inception in 2016.

Head and shoulders photo of Vitumbiko Chinoko

Vitumbiko Chinoko is policy and advocacy expert with a successful background in the implementation of people centred movement for structural and system change in various areas ranging from climate change, politics and practical climate change adaptation, mitigation, and disaster risk reduction on the ground. He is now project manager at the Open Forum on Agriculture and Technology in Nairobi.

Head and shoulders photo of Tracy Kajumba

Tracy Kajumba leads IIED's strengthening partnerships team to facilitate and promote local to global knowledge exchange to catalyse effective action on climate change, ensuring that the voices of vulnerable and excluded groups are included in policy and decision-making. She is also the institutional lead for intersectional disadvantage and inequality.

Head and shoulders photo of Liz Carlile

Liz Carlile (host) is director of the Communications Group at IIED. She is an expert in strategic marketing and communications, with a particular focus on research communications and policy influence, and has published on social learning and climate change communications.

How to listen and subscribe 

The ‘Make Change Happen’ podcast provides informal insights into IIED’s work to create positive change and make the complex issues we face more accessible to wider audiences. The title refers to IIED’s 2019-2024 strategy, which sets out how IIED plans to respond to the critical challenges of our time. 

You can subscribe to the podcast on your favourite podcast app as follows:

The podcast is also available on IIED's YouTube channel.

You can follow some of the people you have heard in this episode on Twitter at @lizcarlile, @TKajumba, @ChinokoV and @HMcGray. Follow the podcast on @IIED_Voices for all the latest updates.